But if I write what my soul thinks,

then it will be visible,

and the words will be its body.

– The Words of Hellen Keller as relayed by Annie Sullivan, 1891



This week, as we continue to wander through the Lenten Wilderness together & through our writing, we examine our lives through the lens of Cultural Touchstones.



Cultural Touchstone: Music





Make a list of your top 5 songs (pieces of music) that represent a meaningful or important time in your life.  Pick one song – ZOOM IN – write about it (or list about it).  Who were the important people in your life at that time?  Where were you?  What did you believe?  What did you feel?  (drawn from Nick Hornby’s bestselling novel About a Boy.)


Cultural Touchstone: Literature





Make a list of the important books in your life at different stages: teenager, 20’s… 50’s, 70’s.  ZOOM in & write or describe as recommended for key music, above.  Consult Ann Fadimon’s Ex Libris  & Nancy Malone’s Walking a Literary Labyrinth.



Cultural Touchstone: Visual Art



Identify a work of art that is meaningful to you, or that resonates with you.  ZOOM in – list people, beliefs that were important to you at this time, or just start writing as the spirit moves you.  Consider Henri Nouwen’s Return of the Prodigal Son, and the way in which the Rembrandt painting by the same name influenced his life.



Resources Used in Class


Even if you do not want to purchase the books that are mentioned in this list, you can still read parts of them on Amazon.  For the links that go to Amazon, on each book, in the top left had corner of the page by the Book Cover, click “Look Inside This Book.”  This link will take you to a preview of the book.  These vary in length, but sometimes contain several chapters.  If you have a Kindle, you can send a preview to your Kindle without buying anything, as well.



This tip is care of Natalie Goldberg, author of The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language & Old Friend from Far Away.  She says when you are stuck and you do not know what to say in your autobiography, try starting each sentence with “I remember” & just keep doing so over & over again until you have a piece, or you start writing on one of the ideas that surfaced.


Assignment for the Week of March 17

This week, please write at least 10 minutes and more if possible.  Next week, the theme of our class will be “Re-Reading”.  Please bring a piece of writing to share and work on.  We will be learning techniques for revising your written work.  This class will be especially important for those who wish to make their writing public.



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